Re-electionists, returning senators dominate Robredo’s Senate slate
MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday named six more candidates in her Senate slate, including figures in politics who previously had divergent directions but are now committed to a common cause.
In a presser, Robredo named one addition and 5 guest candidates joining her 2022 senatorial slate:
- Lawyer Alex Lacson
- Re-electionist Sen. Richard Gordon
- Re-electionist Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri
- Re-electionist Sen. Joel Villanueva
- Sorsogon Gov. Francis "Chiz" Escudero
- Former Vice President Jejomar Binay
Notably, among her guest candidates are members of the Senate majority— Gordon, Zubiri and Villanueva— who were also named in other candidates' rosters.
They will be joining five candidates Robredo's camp earlier named as part of her slate, all long-time opposition figures, including Senate re-electionists who previously had differences with their Majority colleagues.
- Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV
- Re-electionist Sen. Risa Hontiveros
- Re-electionist Sen. Leila de Lima
- Lawyer Chel Diokno
- Former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat
Robredo's announcement follows failed unity talks with presidential aspirants who are now separately pursuing their own 2022 campaigns.
"Actually 'yung mga pinili nating guest candidates they were among the very first who responded to our call for unity, na kahit maraming pinagdaanan sa ating kasaysayan na hindi nagkakaisa," Robredo said.
"Never ko naman sila ever nire-regard na kaaway eh pero may mga hindi pagkakasundo sa mga daang tinahak before, 'yung kahandaang makipagkaisa malaking bagay na 'yon," she said.
(Actually those we selected as guest candidates were among the very first who responded to our call for unity, even as we had gone through instances in history when we were not united. I never regarded them as enemies but there were disagreements before, but the willingness to unite was a big deal.)
Robredo said it has been a dream to bring together a slate with candidates of different beliefs and backgrounds.
"This is just consistent with what we have been pushing for a very long time already… Matagal na natin itong pinaghihirapan (we have long been working for this), to unify as many people as possible coming from diverse backgrounds. 'Di lang sa pulitika pero paminsan kahit sa paniniwala (not just in politics but sometimes, also in beliefs)," Robredo said.
The key metric in their selection is their willingness to unite and having shared aspirations for the country, said Robredo, who is running as an independent but is carried by the opposition Liberal Party and coalition 1Sambayan.
CAMP'S 12TH SENATE SLOT STILL OPEN
According to Robredo, they are still in the "process" of choosing the candidate who will complete their Senate slate since there are still things to consider.
She mentioned that former party-list lawmaker Neri Colmenares and labor leader Sonny Matula are among 5 nominees they are choosing from, noting that the candidate should be the "best" to represent marginalized sectors.
"Ang proseso ay tuloy-tuloy pa, ang proseso sa pakikinig, sa iba't ibang grupo. Siyempre 'pag may concerns na inihahain sa amin, kailangan namin pakinggan," Robredo said.
(The process is still ongoing with other groups. If there are concerns, we need to listen to them.)
"'Yung proseso will continue, ayaw namin i-rush, kasi 'yung mga pinagpipilian naman ay nakapaghain ng certificates of candidacy. It is just a matter of choosing who among them."
(We don't want to rush, because the people we are already choosing have already filed their certificates of candidacy.)
Meanwhile, the guest candidates Robredo named are also part of the senatorial lineup of other candidates.
Binay, Escudero, Zubiri and Villanueva were named part of both Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s and Senator Manny Pacquiao’s slates, while Gordon is also running under Lacson’s team.
But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who Robredo credited for helping form the slate, saw no problem with the setup as long as the guest candidates do not endorse any presidential candidate.
The pandemic, Drilon said, has changed the campaign process for next year’s polls, with candidates expected to rely mostly on social media and not political rallies that would require the presence of the candidates.
In a tweet, Colmenares said he understood the decision for his non-inclusion in Robredo's Senate slate. He added that he is running to "give the poor and marginalized a strong voice in the legislature."
"Vice President Leni Robredo’s decision on who to include in her senatorial slate is her prerogative as the Presidential candidate. My non-inclusion in her slate at this time is based on what she thinks is best for the interest of her candidacy," he said.
"We in Makabayan have always relied on the support of various groups and the people for progressive and pro-people independent candidates like me," Colmenares said.
Zubiri, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude for being included in Robredo's slate, but reiterated that his loyalty is to the Filipino people.
"Ang loyalty ko po ay sa taumbayan, hindi sa anumang partido (My loyalty is to the people, and not to any party). But as a team player, I am willing and able to work alongside anyone who shares in our goal of serving the Filipino people first," he said.
Trillanes also expressed his gratitude to Robredo's camp for being named in her Senate slate, describing it as a "huge honor."
"Ako at ang grupong Magdalo ay nirerespeto ang resulta ng selection process na ito. Higit pa rito, nakatuon kami sa pagpapanalo ng ating next President Leni Robredo," said Trillanes.
(I and my group Magdalo respect the result of this selection process. More than that, we are focused on making our next president Leni Robredo win.)
Diokno said he is also honored to be part of Robredo’s Senate slate, saying it is a manifestation that they want to strengthen the country's laws.
"Sign na sa pamumuno nila, kabilang sa priority ang trabaho nating lagyan ng ngipin ang batas.”
(This is a sign that under their leadership, they would prioritize putting teeth in our laws.)
"Siya ang unang gumising at nagbigay ng pag-asa, lalo na sa mga kabataan, na puweda palang magkaroon ng woke na lolo sa Senado," his statement read.
(She was the first to give hope to people and to the youth that it is possible to have a woke grandfather in the Senate)
WHAT ABOUT SAMIRA GUTOC?
Robredo also laughed off claims made by presidential contender Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso in Batangas that former Otso Diretso senatorial bet Samira Gutoc was being pressured by her former partymates.
Gutoc left the Liberal Party to join Domagoso’s Aksyon Demokratiko party.
Robredo said she never objected and even supported Gutoc’s move.
“Wala naman yatang reason. Bakit naman kami mantatakot ng mga tao? Nakita nyo naman slate natin na pinagpaguran talaga namin ito. Bakit naman kami kailangang mag-threaten ng isang kandidato? Sobra pa nga kami ngayon e,” she said.
(There’s no reason to do that. Why should we threaten a person?You’ve seen our slate which we worked hard for to form. Why would we need to threaten anyone? We have more than enough candidates.)
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who runs Liberal Party’s day-to-day operations, said they had an amicable parting with Gutoc.
“We wished her well. We told her good luck. Nagpaalam nang maayos… Understandable kasi iniisip din niya siguro ‘yung mga plano niya sa pagtakbo sa Senado at kung hindi klaro ‘yung mga panahon na ‘yun ‘yung mga plano at direksyon ni VP Leni," said Pangilinan, who is running as Robredo's vice presidential bet.
(She said goodbye properly. It's understandable because maybe she was thinking about her plans to run and VP Leni's plans at the time weren't clear yet.)
"She took it upon herself to be able to find ways to be able to pursue nga her kagustuhang tumakbo (desire to run). We have no reason to do that and we continue to wish her well,” he added.
Gutoc earlier said that while she switched alliances, it does not mean that she had already betrayed her principles.